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Can an Eventer be retrained for Show hunters?

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  • Can an Eventer be retrained for Show hunters?

    my daughter is looking at a horse that has been doing show jumping and dressage. She wants to concentrate on hunters -- at the local level. Do you find that horses can be versatile, or rather, once trained in one discipline they cannot cross over?

    He is a very nice horse, price, etc. and is pretty local to us....which is appealing.

    Thank you for any advice.

  • #2
    Depends on the horse but yes, it can if it is otherwise suitable.

    Very nice junior hunter in the '90s, Lion King, was a former upper level eventer. And one of the eventers on this board had a grey a couple of years ago that was eventing and turned into a lovely hunter. Its jump was exceptional, though.

    Like any other hunter it needs the right movement, jump and mind, however.


    • #3
      Of course they can be retrained.

      Racehorses get retrained.

      Horses that were poorly ridden by one rider suddenly go great for a new one.

      Horses that used to be nice go crappy when they.continually get bad rides.

      Many horses do more than one discipline, such as my hunter who also does third level dressage and continues to climb the levels.

      For better or for worse, the horse will go how it is ridden, regardless of how it was ridden before.

      For locals shows especially one that obediently goes around will probably be competitve without necessarily having to be super fancy.
      The Noodlehttp://tiny.cc/NGKmT&http://tiny.cc/gioSA
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      • #4
        Many horses can cross over fine, especially at the local level. But, you have to look at the individual horse. Does it have a reasonably steady and rhythmic pace when jumping? Does it have a reasonably attractive and conventional jumping style? Does it have a long enough stride to make the striding in a hunter course? Will it do flying changes?

        ETA depending on your daughter's level of riding and riding goals, issues such as flying changes jumping style and stride are not necessarily important.


        • #5
          Originally posted by briddygirl@cox.net View Post
          my daughter is looking at a horse that has been doing show jumping and dressage. She wants to concentrate on hunters -- at the local level. Do you find that horses can be versatile, or rather, once trained in one discipline they cannot cross over?

          He is a very nice horse, price, etc. and is pretty local to us....which is appealing.

          Thank you for any advice.
          Have a very experienced hunter trainer (or 2 or 3 ) assess the horse with you - that will give you a good basis as to how versatile this particular horse is likely to be.


          • #6
            If it has only been doing show jumping and dressage (and not x/c) it is very easy to cross over, provided that the horse has hunter form.

            Is there a reason he has only been shown in disciplines which doesn't judge jumping form? Or is the seller just not interested in hunters?

            If the horse has done horse trials (dressage, x/c and SJ) then he will still be retrainable, but it might take longer and require more patience before he rocks back and jumps slowly off his hind end.

            Before you buy, have a knowledgable hunter trainer look at him and advise you.
            "He lives in a cocoon of solipsism"

            Charles Krauthammer speaking about Trump


            • #7
              I'd have a couple of concerns about retraining an eventer as a hunter; first, hunters must go to their fences on a very light contact and in a relaxed frame, and eventers usually attack their fences from a more forward pace and a lot more in the bridle.

              Second, eventers in general are pretty casual about horse's form over fences as long as they get over the fence, and hunters are all about the form - not just the neat, tidy and square front end, but the expression in the eye, head and neck, roundness, and the amount of time they spend in the air. A good hunter should casually stride down to the fence, pat the ground in the take off stride and drape themselves over the fence with lots of bascule and an exaggerated tight front end; an event horse typically powers of the ground and is quicker in the air.

              But, as the other posters have said, it all depends on the horse and on the patience and skill of the new rider.

              I would be relectant to put a junior wanting to show local hunters on a really bold event horse that needed a lot of reschooling to be a hunter, might be more of a project that she bargained for.
              The plural of anecdote is not data.


              • #8
                Originally posted by fordtraktor View Post
                Depends on the horse but yes, it can if it is otherwise suitable.

                Very nice junior hunter in the '90s, Lion King, was a former upper level eventer. And one of the eventers on this board had a grey a couple of years ago that was eventing and turned into a lovely hunter. Its jump was exceptional, though.

                Like any other hunter it needs the right movement, jump and mind, however.
                Lion King wasn't a Jr Hunter in the 90's, it was in the 2000's The girl who bought him used to post here all the time, and when her family bought and gelded him, there was a HUGE thread in the eventing forum about it! Lion is currently fat, happy and retired and still owned by the same girl.


                • Original Poster

                  Thank you all soooo much for the great posts! The owner of the horse presently was not into "hunters" and so did dressage/show jumping; never put him in a hunter ring. She says he's an angel in the ring. I will take the advise and have a trainer come and watch him being ridden. I am familiar of what the judges look for in the ring over fences, but sometimes it is good to have another "professional" opinion. Thanks again!


                  • #10
                    I know a very nice equitation horse that is also competitive in the hunters that was started by Darren Chiacchia and competed in eventing for several years before switching. The horse competes at the highest levels in the hunters (including derbies) and equitation at AA shows and was just a top ten finisher in one of the regional Maclay finals.


                    • #11
                      This is my friend's preliminary eventer.. I borrowed him to play in the hunters one week (he also did the adult jumpers later that week). I think he played the part just fine!

                      Proudly blogging for The Chronicle of the Horse!


                      • #12
                        Benny is lovely, and absolutely does look the part. :-)
                        The plural of anecdote is not data.


                        • #13
                          Three of our IHSA horses are ex-eventers, one having gone to upper level. All of them are now super rideable 3ft equitation horses and had no problem with the crossover.

                          If the horse has the jump for the hunter ring, I don't see a problem. It definitely won't blink an eye at the derby jumps!


                          • #14
                            I just bought one!

                            I got lucky and found a nice hunter from one that was too slow for eventing. I just bought my guy from a very competitive eventing farm in VA. He's an Oldenburg and did not want to go gallop houses, tables, coffins and all those things in the open field, but he is comfortable in the ring. He has a super lead change, a nice cadence and lovely presence. They advertised him as a jumper prospect, but his rhythm is so relaxed and consistent that I am going to take him for a play date in the hunter ring
                            "Life is tough. I recommend getting a manicure and a really cute helmet."


                            • #15
                              Julie Gomena's Treaty went on to have a hunter career after winning Rolex. I don't remember much about it but I can tell you that I watched the horse jump around in the juniors at Devon so he was obviously successful.
                              Teneriffe Enterprises- NW Indiana


                              • #16
                                More recently, Stephen Bradley's horse, In the Fog, made the switch from advanced level eventing to the hunter ring. And I think he's done well.


                                • #17
                                  The schoolie I part-lease was an eventer in his previous life - he came to be a schoolie because his owner and then his leaser moved on to divisions that were a little too much for him. And now he cleans up as a hunter in the local shows - and has done fairly well at A shows too! I don't think it really even required retraining.


                                  • #18
                                    It's a really tough question to answer in the abstract. There are horses that are perfectly safe jumping mounts and that have great basics but simply would look out of place in the hunter ring, even at the lower levels. By the same token, there are horses that would probably have made lovely show hunters but have since been poorly developed (not something that is unique to eventers, of course).

                                    There isn't anything that would be specifically trained into a well-developed event horse that couldn't be modified to allow a horse to become a lovely show hunter, provided that the raw material was there. Sure, there will be things to work on, but it can be done quite successfully. I can actually think of a few event horses that I'd recommend as possible show hunters.


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by yellowbritches View Post
                                      More recently, Stephen Bradley's horse, In the Fog, made the switch from advanced level eventing to the hunter ring. And I think he's done well.
                                      He was just circuit champion at Culpeper in the a/a hunters! And another of Stephen's old horses was circuit champ in the children's, and in past years won at Devon and indoors.


                                      • #20
                                        Sure they can

                                        I evented prelim with my old TB.. but his heart was never really into cross country (he would just get nervous and stress the whole time).

                                        I switched barns and ended up riding with a H/J trainer. We did C and B level shows... large children's hunter, Children's jumpers and Medal classes - and we would place in all of them.

                                        Yes, some horses can be retrained. He liked to lope along, and we could pick a good spot. He was good with his knees, and had a nice round jump. Switch bridles, ask for a forward canter, and he knew it was jumper time, and could turn on the heat.
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